Mural Contest Second Place Winner: A Lifeline to Those in Need

Drawing of one hand reaching out to the other, with the words Reach Out, Sea Haven, below them

This winter, runaway and homeless youth programs funded by the Family and Youth Services Bureau were given the chance to win the materials to paint a mural in their facilities. In a series of Beat posts, we recognize the runners-up and the winner. Here are the essay and artwork submitted by the second-place winner, Sea Haven Transitional Living Program Junior Advisory Team, in Horry County, SC.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This is what the Junior Advisory team tried do when we discovered the mural contest. Create a piece of artwork that needed no explaining but speaks for itself. I think that our goal was achieved.

We are the Junior Advisory Team for Sea Haven’s transitional living program, an organization created to help teen runaways ages 16 to 21. This organization not only helps find a home for the teens but also plays a key role in helping them apply for college, or a job, and even helps supply them with clothing. The transitional living program plays a crucial role in supporting teens in their dreams and creating lifetime lasting bonds, giving the adolescents a new start at life. Currently the transitional living program office is a little bit dull. We are looking for something new and interesting to spice the office up, to make it more memorable and stand out. Having this mural would be just the thing.

There were many ideas discussed for this project. We wanted it to be perfect. We thought about what the transitional living program means to us and what it symbolizes to others. We discussed putting the Sea Haven symbol. Also, we discussed hands reaching up and grabbing the world, and so many more ideas. We eventually settled on hands reaching out for each other because Sea Haven reaches out to teens who might otherwise end up on the streets fighting for survival. Sea Haven gives them a second chance, a new beginning.

As you can see, the picture portrays two hands. The bleeding hand represents the people who join the transitional living program, battered and beaten but still reaching for something, someone, anything. The blood symbolizes the past tears shed and painful mistakes made. They have their differences from others but are just as hurt and need help just like everyone else. The unbeaten hand indicates the program as a whole reaching out to the lost, misunderstood souls. The hand is grabbing the beaten hand, which is depicted as though it’s going to give in. This demonstrates that the transitional living program is a lifeline to those in need.

Is this a thousand words? Maybe not, but it's enough to give you a glimpse into our artwork. It always makes a difference to understand the theme of a piece. It deepens the meaning and emotional connection between the viewer and the artist. Maybe a thousand words are not enough to explain a true artist’s image, but I believe we captured the essence of his message.


Additional 2012 Winners:

Mural Contest First Place Winner: Colorado Teens Take a Stand Against Youth Homelessness, Colorado Rural Collaborative Youth Leadership Team

Mural Contest Third Place Winner: Tree of Life, Growth and Change, Sasha Bruce YouthWork in Washington, DC

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